2006-05-12 / Sports

Smith Urges Mets To Honor Robinson In New Stadium

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) called on the New York Mets lto name their new stadium in honor of legend Jackie Robinson.

"Jackie Robinson was not only an outstanding baseball player of his generation, he was a symbol to millions of Americans who prayed for a futire without segregation," Senator Smith said in a latter he sent to Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

Robinson, whom BaseballLibrary. com called "the most historically significant baseball player ever," was recognized as an outstanding athlete from his days at UCLA. He also excelled in basketball, track, football, swimming and tennis.

After playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League, Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey decided Robinson should play with its affiliate in Montreal of the International League, so that he would face less racial prejudice.

"During his ten-year Major League career, Robinson battled .311 and played in six World Series, winning one. These achievements were made only greater, because of ability to withstand the hatred he experienced from both players and fans," Senator Smith said.

On April 15, 1997, which was the 50th anniversary of his first game with the Dodgers, Major League Baseball announced the retirement of his jersey 42 leaguewide. He is the only ever to be honored in such a way.

"While we can recall the achievements of countless athletes for their performances on the field, it is safe to say that very few, if any, equaled the social and cultural impact of Jackie Robinson.

He was a civil rights leader in his own quiet way, and a player with tremendous grace and dignity. I am happy to join with dozens of other public officials in New York, including Senator Charles Schumer, to urge the Mets to name their new stadium after the great Jackie Robinson," State Senator Smith said.

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